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Software Requirements

Requirements Engineering:

Requirements engineering is the process of establishing the services that the customer
requires from the system and the constraints under which it is to be developed and


Requirements are descriptions of the services that a software system must provide and the
constraints under which it must operate.

Requirements can range from high-level abstract statements of services or system

constraints to detailed mathematical functional specifications.

Requirements may serve a dual function:

 May be the basis for a bid for a contract - therefore must be open to

 May be the basis for the contract itself - therefore must be defined in detail;

Types of Requirements:

User Functional
Requirements Requirements


System Non-functional
Requirements Requirements


Dina, CSE 8th Batch

User Requirements:

 Statements in natural language plus diagrams of the services that the system
provides and its operational constraints.

 Written for customers.

 Should describe functional and non-functional requirements in such a way that

they are understandable by system users who don’t have detailed technical

 User requirements are defined using natural language, tables and diagrams as
these can be understood by all users.

User requirements Specification:

1. LIBSYS shall keep track of all data required by copyright licensing agencies in UK
and elsewhere.

Problems in user requirements:

 Lack of clarity:

 Precision is difficult without making the document difficult to read.

 Requirements confusion:

 Functional and non-functional requirements tend to be mixed-up.

 Requirements amalgamation:

 Several different requirements may be expressed together.

System Requirements:

 A structured document setting out detailed descriptions of the system’s

functions, services and operational constraints.

 Defines what should be implemented.

 Written as a contract between system buyer and software developer.

 More detailed specifications of system functions, services and constraints than

user requirements.

 They are intended to be a basis for designing the system.

 They may be incorporated into the system contract.

 Natural Language (NL) is often used to write system requirements specification

as well as user requirements.

System requirements Specification:
1.1 On making a request for a document from LIBSYS, the requestor shall be presented
with a form that records details of user and the request made.

1.2 LIBSYS request forms shall be stored on the system for 5 years from the date of the

1.3 All LIBSYS request forms must be indexed by user, by the name of the material
requested and by the supplier of the request.

1.4 LIBSYS shall maintain a log of all requests that have been made to the system.

1.5 For material where authors lending rights apply, loan details shall be sent monthly
to copyright licensing agencies that have registered with LIBSYS.

Problems in system requirements:

 Ambiguity:

 The readers and writers of the requirement must interpret the same words in
the same way. NL is naturally ambiguous so this is very difficult.

 Over-flexibility:

 The same thing may be said in a number of different ways in the specification.

 Lack of modularisation:

 NL structures are inadequate to structure system requirements.

Readers of different types of requirements specification:

User Requirements System Requirements

Client managers System end-users

System end-users
Client engineers
Client engineers
System architects
Contractor managers
System Architects Software developers

Dina, CSE 8th Batch

Difference between user and system Requirements:

User Requirements System Requirements

Describe the services that system provides Defines what should be implemented.
and its operational constraints.
User requirements are what the customers System requirements are what equipment
need. is needed to run the program.
User requirements should be written using System requirements may be written in
natural language, tables and Diagrams. structured natural language, a PDL or in a
formal language.
User requirements are high-level System requirements are intended to
statements of what the system should do. communicate the functions that the system
should provide.
User requirements are functional System requirements are non-functional
requirements. requirements.
They deal with functionality that is visible They deal with the characteristics that the
and important to users that a system has system must meet to provide a sufficient
to deliver to satisfy the business objectives level of reliability, usability,
that the system is designed to fulfil. maintainability, availability.
Written for customers. Written for those who are involved in
system implementation.
User requirements are requirements they System requirements are requirements
have been communicated to you by the imposed by the design of the system itself.

Functional Requirements:

 Statements of services the system should provide,

 How the system should react to particular inputs;

 How the system should behave in particular situations.

 Describe functionality or system services.

 Depend on the type of software, expected users and the type of system where
the software is used.

 Functional user requirements may be high-level statements of what the system

should do.

 Functional system requirements should describe the system services in detail.

 Optional: what the system should do.

 Examples: security (user authentication facilities in the system).

Dina, CSE 8th Batch

Example: Here are the examples of functional requirements for a university library
system called LIBSYS.

 A library system that provides a single interface to a number of databases of

articles in different libraries.

 Users can search for, download and print these articles for personal study.

 The user shall be able to search either all of the initial set of databases or select a
subset from it.

 The system shall provide appropriate viewers for the user to read documents in the
document store.

 Every order shall be allocated a unique identifier (ORDER_ID) which the user shall
be able to copy to the account’s permanent storage area.

Requirements imprecision:

 Problems arise when requirements are not precisely stated.

 Ambiguous requirements may be interpreted in different ways by developers and


 Consider the term ‘appropriate viewers’

 User intention - special purpose viewer for each different document type;

 Developer interpretation - Provide a text viewer that shows the contents of the

Requirements completeness and consistency:

 In principle, requirements should be both complete and consistent.

 Completeness:

 All services required by the user should be defined.

 Consistent:

 Requirements should NOT have conflicts or contradictions in the descriptions.

 It is impossible to produce a complete and consistent requirements document.

Dina, CSE 8th Batch

Non-functional Requirements:

 These define system properties and constraints.

 Constraints on the services or functions offered by the system such as timing


 Constraints on the development process, standards, etc.

 Process requirements may also be specified mandating a particular IDE,

programming language or development method.

 Non-functional requirements may be more critical than functional requirements. If

these are not met, the system may be useless.

 Often apply to the system as a whole (unlike individual features or services)

 Example of non-functional requirements:

 System properties: reliability, response time, maintainability, storage


 Constraints: I/O device capability, data representations, etc.

 Process requirements: Mandating particular CASE system, Programming


Problems in non-functional requirements:

 Non-functional requirements may be very difficult to state precisely and imprecise

requirements may be difficult to verify.
 Goal:
 A general intention of the user such as ease of use, recovery from failure, etc.
 Example: The system should be easy to use by experienced controllers and
should be organised in such a way that user errors are minimised.
 Verifiable non-functional requirement:
 A statement using some measure that can be objectively tested.
 Example: Experienced controllers shall be able to use all the system functions
after a total of two hours training. After this training, the average number of
errors made by experienced users shall not exceed two per day.
 Goals are helpful to developers as they convey the intentions of the system users.

Dina, CSE 8th Batch

Types of non-functional requirement:

Product Space



Requirement Organizational Operational



External Ethical

Product requirements:

Specify product behaviour. E.g. execution speed, memory required, reliability (failure
rate), portability requirements, usability requirements, etc.

Organisational requirements:

Derived from customer and developer organisational policies and procedures. E.g. process
standards used, implementation requirements, delivery requirements, etc.

External requirements:

Derived from factors which are external to the system and its development process. E.g.
interoperability requirements, legislative requirements, ethical requirements etc.

Dina, CSE 8th Batch

Examples of non-functional requirements in the LIBSYS:

Product requirements:

The user interface for LIBSYS shall be implemented as simple HTML without frames or
Java applets.

Organisational requirements:

The system development process and deliverable documents shall conform to the process
and deliverables defined in XYZCo-SP-STAN-95.

External requirements:

The system shall not disclose any personal information about customers apart from their
name and reference number to the operators of the system.

Difference between Functional and Non Functional Requirements:

Functional Requirements Non Functional Requirements

Functional requirements are those Non-functional requirements are those
requirements that deal with what the requirements that define the constraints
system should do or provide for users. on how the system will do so.

Describe the functionalities of a system. Describes how, how well or to what

standard a function should be provided.

It determines the product features. It determines the product properties.

It is defined by the users. It is determined by the software

developers and architects.

It is easy to test the functional It is comparatively difficult.

Define functions of a system or its sub Defines the constraints, targets or control
systems. mechanisms for the new system.

If we are developing a Library system for And the non- functional requirements can
your college, then the functional be listed as:
requirements can be listed as:
 Throughput
 Membership facility  Service availability
 Issue of new books  Security of the system and
 Return of books  Reliability of the system
 Member’s data
 Visiting Books status
 Pre booking of books

Domain Requirements:

 Derived from the application domain and describe system characteristics and
features that reflect the domain.

 Domain requirements be new functional requirements, constraints on existing

requirements or define specific computations.

 If domain requirements are not satisfied, the system may be unworkable.

Example: Example of LIBSYS domain requirements.

 There shall be a standard user interface to all databases which shall be based on the
Z39.50 standard.

 Because of copyright restrictions, some documents must be deleted immediately on

arrival. Depending on the user’s requirements, these documents will either be
printed locally on the system server for manually forwarding to the user or routed
to a network printer.

Example: Example of train protection system.

 Computation of deceleration to stop the train:

The deceleration of the train shall be computed as:

Dtrain = Dcontrol + Dgradient

Where, Dgradient is 9.81ms2 * compensated gradient/ alpha

And the values of 9.81ms2 /alpha are known for different types of train.

Problem: It is difficult for a non-specialist to understand the implications of this and how
it interacts with other requirements.

Domain requirements problems:

 Understandability:

 Requirements are expressed in the language of the application domain;

 This is often not understood by software engineers developing the system.

 Implicitness:

 Domain specialists understand the area so well that they do not think of making
the domain requirements explicit.

Dina, CSE 8th Batch